By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
The Barr-Reeve boys’ basketball team is undefeated, but the schedule will start to get interesting now that January has begun.
The Class A No. 2 Vikings (10-0, 3-0 Blue Chip) are fresh off winning the Graber Post Classic on New Year’s Eve, and will really need to focus in on its goals with less than two months before the start of the postseason.
Barr-Reeve head coach Bryan Hughes said coming into the season he thought he had a pretty good team, but he wasn’t completely sure how his team would mesh together. Sophomore forward Addison Wagler is the only returning starter from a team that lost four seniors to graduation. 10 games in, everything is going exactly to plan in Montgomery.
“I’m not sure at the beginning of the year that we envisioned being 10-0,” Hughes said. “I thought we had a chance to be a pretty good basketball team. We are basically at the half way point; I don’t want to put a whole lot of stock in the fact that we have been unbeaten at this time. We’ve got some very good opponents coming up, there’s still a long way to go.”
In winning the Graber Post Classic, played at North Daviess, the Vikings needed a dramatic fourth quarter comeback to beat Class 3A No. 9 Brownstown Central and two overtimes to beat Class A No. 6 North Daviess in its own gym. Both games featured different ways to play, including the championship game win over North Daviess. The Vikings will visit the Cougars again on Jan. 19.
“I thought our focus was really good,” Hughes said. “We made mistakes in both games, and our focus to play basketball, and our focus to understand that the game is 32 minutes. Just keep playing and understanding it’s not over until it’s over. I thought our kids showed a lot of toughness, and I’m proud of the effort that they gave.”
The Graber Post Classic gave Hughes a chance to see how his team matches up with other talented teams like Brownstown Central and North Daviess, and gave the Vikings a chance to play in a tournament atmosphere, which Hughes said will be crucial come March.
“I can’t sit here and tell you that we really talked about winning the whole things, of course you want to do that,” Hughes said. “The biggest thing I think about the midseason tournament is you want to try to play in meaningful games. We knew that Brownstown Central was sitting there more than likely as our second opponent, and at a 7:30 game, which is the prime time. Of course you want to get to that game, and you’d like to get to the next 7:30 game in the final. I think it does you a lot better in tournaments if you’re playing the evening games against very good opponents.”
As the Vikings being play in January with Friday’s matchup at Forest Park, the games seem to feel more important, and Barr-Reeve will have its hands full with some quality opponents, and teams they are familiar with that they will likely see in the postseason. The Vikings will host Class A No. 4 and defending state champion Loogootee Jan. 12, and the following Saturday they will visit the Cougar Den again for the annual Buggy Bowl game against North Daviess. Hughes said in order to stay consistent; the Vikings need to keep doing what they have been doing for the first 10 games.
“This group has been good, as most of our groups have been here at Barr-Reeve, they come to work every day,” Hughes said. “They just need to show up every day, and realize there are parts of our game that we can improve upon. You give the effort during the week and you believe the effort will be there on the weekend.”